The following article contains brief discussion of suicide and self-harm.
Audiences always love seeing their favorite characters from different franchises clash or work together in a crossover, and some combinations just seem made for each other. For instance, pitting master criminal Arsène Lupin from Lupin the 3rd against anime's greatest detective, Conan Edogawa from Detective Conan, seems an obvious choice. Thankfully this crossover has happened, and it spawned a fantastic TV special. And because Discotek Media has released a new Blu-ray version of the film, it is easier than ever to dive into the action.
Lupin the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan is a TV special that first released in 2009. Made to celebrate the 55th anniversary of NTV and the 50th anniversary of Yomiuri TV, this special was directed by Hajime Kamegaki, who has previously worked on several Detective Conan and Lupin III projects and holds an intimate knowledge of both franchises. Prolific studio TMS Entertainment was a natural choice to handle the animation, as it has much experience working on both Lupin the 3rd and Detective Conan.
The Story of Lupin the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan
Lupin the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan starts by introducing viewers to the fictional European kingdom of Vespania. This kingdom was doing well until Queen Sakura was accidentally killed by her son while on a hunting trip. The son kills himself due to guilt, throwing the region into chaos as the line of succession is exceptionally messed up.
Princess Mira should be next in line but doesn't want the role, and a growing sector of the population believes she's unfit to rule and is threatening to overthrow the monarchy. To protect the princess, the man who trained Vespania's army is called in to be her bodyguard: Lupin's longtime friend Daisuke Jigen. Lupin hopes to use this moment and Daisuke's history to steal the kingdom's crown jewels.
However, this won't be as easy as first thought since the princess' advisors have arranged a tour of Japan to boost her popularity. This tour includes a party at the Grand Hotel West City Tama, where someone attempts to poison the princess. Luckily, two party guests -- Kogoro Mouri and Conan Edogawa -- quickly start trying to work out who the culprit is.
Why Lupin the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan Is a Fitting Tribute to Both Franchises
One of the best things about this special is the sheer amount of content it fits into its 104-minute runtime. Not only do all the core characters from both Lupin III and Detective Conan get to do some of their signature maneuvers, but the case itself is also very complex, featuring plenty of fun twists and turns that will keep viewers guessing until the very end. Combine this with some wonderfully animated set pieces that perfectly capture the aesthetic of both shows -- without ever clashing or looking odd when placed side-by-side -- and you can see why fans loved this special.
The only downside is that the title is a bit of a white lie, as Conan and Lupin don't really fight against each other. But that is also to the TV special's advantage, as having them do their own thing gave the writers more room to come up with intriguing scenarios.
Lupin the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan was quite popular in Japan and sold well when released on home media. It even spawned a theatrical film a few years later called Lupin the 3rd vs. Detective Conan: The Movie. The special was first brought to America in 2015 when Discotek Media released a DVD version, though the new blu-ray offers a higher definition version, allowing American fans to enjoy the special in all its glory.
For fans of either Detective Conan or Lupin the 3rd -- or mystery series in general -- Lupin the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan TV Special is an ideal watch. It's a fitting tribute to both franchises that shows what made them so famous in the first place, and is full of callbacks and homages while telling a fun self-contained story that uses all the characters to their fullest potential. This new Blu-ray version lets viewers enjoy the special and fully appreciate how faithful to the original series the animation is, making it a must-watch for mystery fans.